Queen Creek approves water agreements for Legado development

Community Chambers/Law Enforcement, 20727 E. Civic Parkway, is where Town Council meetings happen. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

A pair of water agreements between Queen Creek, Sossaman Holdings and Taylor Morrison/Arizona has garnered the Town Council’s approval, making way for the development of a 119-acre property.

The property, known as Legado Phase 1, sits at the northwest corner of Sossaman and Ocotillo roads. The Town Council approved on consent a recovered reclaimed water agreement and a water services agreement at its Wednesday, May 15 meeting.

The recovered reclaimed water agreement between the three entities identifies the town and developers’ desire to recover from the town’s recovery and to use a portion of its stored reclaimed water supply to service certain landscaped areas, including a lake in the development Harvest Queen Creek.

The town, as part of the agreement, agrees to provide a developer no less than 150 acre-feet of recovered reclaimed water annually. The town will also construct a water line from a recovery well at Mansel Carter Oasis Park to the edge of the Legado property.

The town’s utilities department developed a new program to establish water services agreements with developers for the recharge and recovery of water to provide for development lakes and landscaping needs.

Rather than building a pipeline to each new development that delivers effluent from the Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant, the town will use existing wells to develop new wells as the method of recovery.

The wells will deliver the treated effluent by pumping the recovered water from the aquifer to fill the development lakes.

City staff say the program also relieves the town from having to construct potable water storage, wells and booster pumps for landscaping.

Each developer is responsible for costs to construct lakes, pumps, the well meter and pipelines to deliver the recovered effluent. In return, the development is charged the urban irrigation rate for effluent that’s pumped.

Developers will also not be responsible for paying the annual Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District tax, which all customers who pump potable water must pay. Developers can also use the groundwater to provide aquatic activities to its residents.

Town staff say the two agreements identify obligations of both developers and the town and will continue with future owners, their partners and other project participants such as future town councils and employees.

Town staff anticipate the project to include a two-acre lake as part of the first phase of the subdivision, which includes 250 homes. At build-out, the subdivision is planned to have 700 homes.

Under the agreement, the town will use an urban irrigation rate for both the initial fill and ongoing replenishment of the lake. For the initial phase, any excess of 50 acre-feet will incur a 150% charge of the rate.

Town staff estimate the use of lakes over turf as part of the project will save the town about $1.5 million. Town staff also estimate over the 10-year term of the agreement, the project will use 740 more acre-feet of water than it will generate.

As a result, the town will be responsible to replace the water resource to cover the difference, which will use recovered groundwater, groundwater credits or surface water allowances.

Town staff estimate the 10-year cost will vary based on the water resource market. With current market data, staff say the 10-year net cost could be as low as $61,000 or as high as $371,000.

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